Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Book Review: Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Giffin

Masque of the Red Death
by Bethany Griffin
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Expected Publication: April 24, 2012
Pages: 336
Age Demographic: Young Adult
amazon | b&n

Everything is in ruins.

A devastating plague has decimated the population. And those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles to pieces around them.

So what does Araby Worth have to live for?

Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery make-up . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.

But in the depths of the club—in the depths of her own despair—Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club. And Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither boy is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.

And Araby may find something not just to live for, but to fight for—no matter what it costs her

* Summary taken from Goodreads.

❝My Thoughts❞

The Masque of the Red Death is a dark and gorgeous gothic novel with beautiful atmosphere, intriguing characters readers will want to know more about, and compelling mystery. Bethany Griffin brings to life an edgey modern re-telling of a classic Edgar Allen Poe short story, with new original twists sure to wow. The world building is exceptionally phenomenal and amazingly crafted. The imagery and descriptions are stunningly dark and rich, that has a way of pulling readers into the terrifying world of beauty and darkness. The vibrancies shining through in small bits and doses, literally pops off the pages.

Bethany Griffin pens a fantastic blend of steampunk and gothic horror, set in a terrifying post-apocalyptic world with a dystopian feel to it sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats. It's a beguiling world brimming with corsets, beautiful gowns, and carriages that virtually transports readers back to the Victorian era wowing them with gorgeous scenery and intense mystery and intrigue. It's a chilling novel that induces fear and panic surrounding a deadly plague. The world is dark and dismal. Half of the population has been decimated by this virus, while those who are poor find themselves employed by the wealthy well-to-do, whose main task is to deliver messages. Others seek employment ridding the streets of the bodies ravaged by the virus. The characters are deceptively brilliant and wonderfully developed.

Araby was an interesting character to get to know, in her own unique way. She's the daughter of the man who created the masques that the citizens wear. She seems to be wandering through life, not really sure of herself or what she's capable of. It's almost as if she has somehow lost her footing and doesn't seem to have much hope left. It isn't until her best friend goes missing and a mad man who refers to himself as Reverend Malcontent starts wrecking violence and causing a ruckus in the city, that she begins to find herself and her purpose in life. She starts to slowly metamorph into this beautifully strong, determined, and brave girl despite everything that she's had to endure in her life and the affects of the plague claiming so many other lives.

The romance comes in the form of a love triangle and even though I'd personally prefer not to have them in almost every book I read, it was actually sweet and nice in this one. Will is incredibly swoon worthy handsome and fully of mysterious intrigue. It's easy to see how Araby could find herself irresistibly drawn to him. He's sweet and kind with her, showing he cares for her but it seems as if he lives his life in two separate worlds, passing between the two so effortlessly. This is another small mystery that will have readers guessing and looking for answers.

Elliot, on the other hand, is a bit darker and definitely handsome. He is the brother of Araby's missing best friend. There's just something so thrilling and dangerous, almost wreck less when it comes to him. He's a hard one to figure out, whether he's using Araby or if he actually does care for her. He's all about the revolution, but it's not sure as to what lengths he'd go to actually cause it. He just possesses so much bad boy mysterious charm that makes him likable regardless of whether it's a good thing or not. He will either the best thing to happen to Araby or he'll be the worst thing and readers will definitely want to know more.

Masque of the Red Death is a bone chilling tale full of tantalizing mystery, wickedly dark secrets, and an amazingly killer plot that will surely keep readers guessing all the way to the end. It is just a fantastic ball of wow. It's incredibly thrilling and unique and is definitely a book that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys dark gothic fantasy, the mechanical world of the Victorian era, and survival in a post-apocalyptic world. This phenomenal world full of amazingly interesting characters and equally vivid scenery is bound to stay with readers long after the last page has been turned.

Want to purchase a copy of Masque of the Red Death?

You can do so by visiting my Amazon Store and adding them to your shopping cart. While you're there, feel free to look around, you might find something else you want. I hope you enjoyed the review and the book, if you've already read it. If you haven't, then I definitely suggest you pick up a copy for yourself or even for someone else, if you think they'll like it.



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Bethany Griffin teaches high school English and creative writing. Her debut novel is an edgey modern re-telling of a classic Edgar Allen Poe short story, Masque of the Red Death.

You can visit her at her blog to get more information about how to contact her or her book.

Author information taken from her .

{ This ARC was provided by ATW ARC Tours, in exchange for an honest review which I have provided. No money exchanged hands, I review books for fun because I love to read. I am not interested in monetary gain. Any piece of this ARC that was or wasn't quoted, is not part of the finished product and should not be perceived as such. Instead, you should compare and check it against a finished copy once it is released.}


  1. I also enjoyed the triangle in this one. And the world building was awesome it's my favorite part. I loved the gothic, dark vibe. Happy you enjoyed it too Susan!

  2. Oh.  Suz.  Oh my.  Your review is PERFECT and tantalizing.  I really really cannot wait to get my hands on this book.  Steampunk?  Gothic?  And a boy named Elliot?  I AM THERE.  Thank you for this review!  

  3. Wow, Susan! Your review is so beautiful and well-written and just flows. I love it!

    AmberThe Musings of ALMYBNENR


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